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Cycling & Pop Culture
« on: August 15, 2013, 21:13 »

Toulouse-Lautrec painted Tristan Bernard at the Velodrome of Buffalo and stayer Jimmy Michael


Hugo Claus in his The Sorrow of Belgium made references to cycling:

- A joyful uncle Armand appeared for breakfast. He had a furrowed face full of laugh lines, a long upper lip and looked like Marcel Kint, the Black Eagle of Zwevegem [that was indeed Kint's nickname] when he was taken a photograph of after a sprint, shining, strong among exhausted, breathless softies.

-Just like Felicien Vervaecke bit himself off. [...] That's one of Flanders' finest moments. Felicien Vervaecke had a 2'45 lead of Bartali, July 23, every factory stood still, every school, office, and in the radio, Bartali and the frolic Wardje Vissers were in the lead and Bartali attacked. Vervaecke dropped but bit himself off, that's how I should be all the time.

Antoine Blondin was a novelist from the Hussard movement (right-wingers, anti-Sartre, anti-De Gaulle). Most famous novel was Un singe en hiver. Wrote the preface to Chany's Fabuleuse histoire du cyclisme. Editorialist for L'équipe, he wrote an editorial for the 1959 Paris-Roubaix in which he said:
"[...] at this cycling race, each of them had his own personality. You could distinguish between the Glorious and the Humble, the rolling plane and the highway dandy, the rich and the poor, the city mouse and the field's mouse." About the Arenberg Forest he said "the last insanity of the cycling sport."


Le jour se lève (1939): in this masterpiece by Marcel Carné, Jean Gabin has a picture of André Leducq next to his mirror

Le petit monde de Don Camillo (1952): Fernandel/Camillo is riding a bike. Some patrons at a bar terrace would say "hello Bartali". A fight ensued.
Le mouton à 5 pattes (1954): The elder of the Saint-Forget (Fernandel) is "as popular as bicycle champion."
La métamorphose des cloportes (1965) [Audiard's dialogues]: the years that Lino Ventura spent in jail are the 4 consecutive years Anquetil wins the Tour of France. The author of the novel adapted by this film is Alphonse Boudard who also wrote an editorial for the 1984 Paris-Roubaix called La croix des héros
Les cracks (1968): Bourvil plays a rider of the fictitious race Paris-Sanremo. Story set in the early 20th century.
Je suis timide mais je me soigne (1978): Aldo Maccione gives the example of Merckx as someone who overcame shyness but this Italian actor adds "but I prefer Gimondi, forza Gimondi !"
American Flyers (1985): Sports physician Marcus Sommers (Costner) persuades his younger brother David (Grant) to train with him for a three-day bicycle race across the Rocky Mountains known as "The Hell of the West." It features the 7-Eleven team with footage from the Coors Classics and a guest appearance by Merckx
Le vélo de Ghislain Lambert (2001): Benoit Poelvoorde plays an obscure riders from the Merckx era who unexpectedly wins Bordeaux-Paris and set out to break Merckx Hour Record.

In the film by the recently deceased Denys de La Patellière, Rue des Prairies Jean Gabin had a famous scene about cycling with Paul Mercey in which the latter does not seem to understand track sprint. Gabin's son played by Claude Brasseur is a track sprinter but was 'surprised' by his opponent at the start because he was in 2nd place. Mercey's character had seen Charly Gaul at the Izoard the year before and Gabin says he's mixing everything (track sprint and Izoard) and that there were already solid riders before Mr Charly Gaul.

"the lad hasn't heard about Mr Christophe, the Old Gallic, Mr Thys, Mr Alavoine, Scieur, Lambot, Mr Mottiat and I don't even talk about Henri"
"Henri who?"
"Henri who, he says, the lad. But Henri PÉLISSIER, sir ! and at that time, no gear shifting, you had to turn the pedal to climb your Izoard"

He would then take a stool and show him how a track sprint works. Also in this film, when Roger Dumas reads L'équipe one can see the results of the GP Forli (a former ITT race) won by Ercole Baldini and when Dumas and Gabin are on a pedal-boat Gabin says "on this thing you don't know if you're doing a regatta or the Six-Days"

(In French)

Gabin was a cycling fan. He was a commentator for the radio in 1938. His friend Alfred Letourneur broke the paced hour record in 1941 and he held his bike before the start. The dialogue writer Michel Audiard used to be a track cyclist but he couldn't climb and hence turned to cinema. His dialogues were more famous then the work by the directors he worked for. He wrote the dialogues for Rue des prairies and La métamorphose des cloportes. In Le Pacha by Lautner with dialogues from Audiard Gabin would act with André Pousse who was a track sprinter in the 1940's at the Vel d'hiv. At that time Alain Delon as a kid/fan held his bike.

During the shooting of Il gattopardo Alain Delon left the crew to shake hands with Fausto Coppi. He was offered Coppi's bike and still have it in his home.

Music (thanks JSG for the link)

It's a little known fact but, in her youth, Joni Mitchell was a mad crazy cycling fan and her hit song, Big Yellow Taxi, is a love song to the sport. The title itself is a reference to the yellow Alcyon bikes Henri Desgrange for a time made competitors in the Tour de France compete on (some suggest it's actually a reference to the Mavic neutral support vehicles, but these didn't arrive until after the song was written). The line in the song that says they paved paradise and put up a parking lot, well that's a reference to the Queen of the Classics, Paris-Roubaix, and how the cobbles that gave the race its character were tarred over in attempts to drag the roads of the region into the modern era.

TV Series

In 2011 the BRTN broadcast the TV Series De Ronde, which shows what a certain number of people are doing the day of the Tour of Flanders ...

(In Dutch)
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  • « Last Edit: July 29, 2015, 15:51 by Echoes »
    "Paris-Roubaix is the biggest cycling race in the world, bigger than the Tour de France, bigger than any other bike race" (Sir Bradley Wiggins)

    Anthony Moan

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    Re: Cycling & Pop Culture
    « Reply #1 on: August 15, 2013, 21:41 »
    Dont know anything about painting but was surprised when dude who I know from club rides opend exhibition named "Cyclist" last month or so, he is well known Croat painter and vivid cyclist. Al those painted guys are club mates :D Kool very! :niceday

    I think mate wearing Discovery jersey, that must be globe :D

    P.S. Hope no problems with copy right :D, this is from FB.
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    Re: Cycling & Pop Culture
    « Reply #2 on: August 25, 2013, 20:58 »
    More on Michel Audiard:

    Gabin called him 'the Little Cyclist'. In 1961 Henri Verneuil united Audiard and Gabin for an adaptation of Blondin's Un singe en hiver. The three cycling fans were there, with Jean-Paul Belmondo who was rather a boxing fan/amateur boxer. The story has nothing to do with cycling though but rather illustrates Blondin's passion for alcohol, unfortunately.

    After the prologue Paris-Nice in 1969 Audiard met with Poulidor, who had won the stage beating Merckx. Audiard lived in Dourdan - so close to the famous climb of Bordeaux-Paris and of the Tours-Versailles version of Paris-Tours - and the prologue was set not far from that in Villebon-s/Yvette. He asked Poulidor everything about the gear ratio that he used. One of his rooms in his house was totally dedicated to cycling with a huge collection of jerseys that he got from Robert Chapatte (future commentator for France TV).

    Audiard hated those who did not like cycling and made up a quote especially for them: "Those who don't like cycling are annoying us, even when they don't talk about it".  :D

    Poulidor also knew Antoine Blondin personally because the latter came to live in a nearby village in Poulidor's Limousin. He however never visited him because Blondin was unbearable with his bottles. However we Poulidor used to train around he would usually met him in a pub, making his round and then leave as soon as he can before the others are drunk.  :D

    Poulidor was a close friend of René Fallet who was a successful novelist who novels would usually be adapted to the cinema. His most famous one was La soupe aux choux, which became a comedy film starring Louis de Funès in 1981.

    Fallet followed his first Paris-Roubaix in 1958 and then met with Poulidor during the Tour of France in 1967 and they became good friends. In 1971 before the start of Paris-Roubaix, he introduced him to singer-songwriter Georges Brassens, whom Poulidor didn't personally know but whose songs he loved. Brassens had just survived a terrible illness and was weak and Poulidor told him "be careful Mr Brassens, you'll be heavily shaken in the car." They laughed their head off.

    In 1979 René Fallet came back to Paris-Roubaix and wrote an editorial for L'équipe:

    "I don't know if you're like me but I can only picture Paris-Roubaix under rain. Note that I'm not saying snow, since I'm called a sadist regarding my rainy preference. It's a matter of petry applied to sport[...]"

    But this was a bright sunny edition and he "had to take Paris-Roubaix as it comes. Dusty as the noble oldie that it was."


    - The novelist Alfred Jarry was famous his series of books around the Ubu character.  A lesser known novel of his was Le surmâle (translated into English as The Supermale) in 1902, in which he imagined a race Paris-Irkutsk. An important character in the story was the chemist William Elson who made a new invention: the perpetual-motion food (in English in the original text), which enabled the regeneration of muscles during the effort. All the contenders of the race would die.

    Jarry was 80 years ahead of EPO !

    - Louis-Ferdinand Céline was a novelist famous for his desperate and anti-heroic style and his cynical tone, impossible to copy but very influential (Audiard was most probably influenced).

    In his Death on Credit (1936), Céline names the great Luxembourger, François Faber:

    on se rabattait sur la colonne des sportifs, avec
    épreuves «Buffalo» et les six jours en perspective, et
    Morin et le beau Faber favori... Ceux qui préféraient du
    «Longchamp», ils se planquaient dans le coin opposé...

    We fell back on the sports news, with the "Buffalo" contests and the Six-Days in prospect, and Morin and the beautiful Faber as favourite... Those who preferred some "Longchamp", they would hid on the opposite side.

    Longchamp represented horse-racing.

    Morin might be the track sprinter Ludovic Morin but what is weird is that he stopped racing in 1901 while Faber started in 1908.
    The story deals with the childhood and the youth of a merchant's son in Paris 1900-1910.

    It's just one mention in 600 pages (FV), though.

    In 1934, Céline was also offered a bike by Charles Pélissier in his home. In 1943 Céline rode on it with all his manuscripts that he wished to sell - he was short of money - and in 1944 the bike was stolen.


    Paolo Conte - Bartali

    Mario Gualtieri - Ciao Fausto

    Francesco de Gregori - Il bandito e il campione  (thanks Fus for this)

    This blog reviews the eponymous book by Marco Ventura telling the story of the campionissimo Costante Girardengo and the anarchist/bandit Sante Pollastri, with also a vid of the TV film broadcast by the Rai:

    [any Italophone to translate what the character Girardengo replies when some French supporters asked him "avez-vous peur de Pélissier?" ("are you afraid of Pélissier?") ??]

    Pollastri became the most wanted man in the twenties in Italy (and Europe) but his weakness was his passion for cycling. Future Lombardy winner Antonio Negrini even said he raced against him as amateur. In 1925 Girardengo had a track meeting in Paris with the Pélissier brothers, Binda and Bottecchia. Gira was working with his masseur Biagio Cavanna (later to work with Coppi while having lost the sense of sight) who knew Pollastri and that's how Sante met his idol. Two years later Sante would be caught in Paris.


    The velodrome of Buffalo built in Neuilly-sur-Seine, in 1894 later replied in Montrouge was named after William Cody, aka Buffalo Bill, who would stop on the same spot with his circus.

    In 1893 Buffalo Bill had a challenge with the Danish cyclist Charles Meyer (future Bordeaux-Paris winner and 2nd at the first Paris-Roubaix). In 12 hours Buffalo Bill covered a distance of 349km with his horse against 332km for Meyer.

    In 1884 Cody and his horse already beat the trackie Romolo Bruni at the San Siro stadium in Milan. He also beat the young Girardengo (aged 18!) in 1911.

    A famous Horse vs Cyclist challenge happened in Amiens 1977 with Freddy Maertens against 'Fakir du Vivier' (the horse that was partially owned by actor Alain Delon):


    Oh and in 1968 Rik Van Steenbergen who suffered from the famous 'black hole' was a cast member of the German porn film: Pandore  :D

    Main sources:

    Raymond Poulidor & Jean-Paul Brouchon - Poulidor intime (Jacob-Duvernet 2007)
    Philippe Bordas - Forcenés (Fayard 2008)



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  • « Last Edit: July 29, 2015, 16:00 by Echoes »


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    Re: Cycling & Pop Culture
    « Reply #3 on: August 27, 2013, 11:06 »
    Kraftwerk fits nicely in pop culture and cycling. Being hardcore cycling fans and if I remember correctly they have said that a bike is the ultimate link between man and machine.  Karl Bartos left the group because of its obsession with bikes and riding.

    Tour de france '03 (Special edition)

    A live version of '03 TdF. Very minimalistic until 4:23 when it departes

    An alternative video of TdF '83 with shots of the members dressed in jet black on chrome (or is it titanium?)  bikes.

    A piece about Kraftwerk and cycling from Roleur Magazine.

    Edit:  This podcast discuss Kraftwerk and cycling.
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    Re: Cycling & Pop Culture
    « Reply #4 on: June 14, 2014, 15:09 »
    Novel "La bonne échappée" by Natacha Cayuela. Recently published. I know her. Not about cycling but cycling is in the background. Some quotes: "I noticed that cyclists were courageous. They only give up when they have no other choice." "It's obvious that they aren't pretending. They spend hours on the bike, have no half time or lunch break."

    In Hergé's comics "The Adventures of Tintin : The Blue Lotus" (1936), Tintin finds himself watching filmed news in a cinema in Shanghai. One news is a certain Honorat winning the "grand cross national" and saying in a post race interview: "I'm glad I won and I hope I'd do better next time."

    In the Hergé Museum in Louvain-La-Neuve it's said it was based on a true story but I could find no report that a cyclist named Honorat ever existed.


    The already mentioned film Rue des Prairies by Denys de la Patelière is back in its entirety on YT (hope it won't be censored again before long):

    Enables me to correct some mistakes of mine.

    The newspaper that Roger Dumas is reading is not L'Équipe but France soir:

    The headline of the article is fictitious "Neveux Threatens the Best" about the character played by Claude Brasseur (a track sprinter).

    The article is genuine though but most of it is guesswork. It must say something like "Ercole Baldini wins the second Tendicollo Trophy Universal [which is the name that the GP Forli took back then], reiterating his success of last year [so it's about the 1959 win, on June 14], an international ITT contest which gathered some of the best racers, bar Rolf Graf" [*ch] Anquetil was 2nd.

    Before the film is censored again, I'd like to post a nice view of the Parc des Princes, from the film:


    In 1928 Costante Girardengo track racing in the USA won a $2,000 prize offered by Polish silent film star Pola Negri (Barbara Apolonia Chałupiec) and was noticed by Ernest Hemingway who described him as a "statuesque, a marvellous specimen who moves with the agility of a cat.

    Source: The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling s Greatest One-day Races - Peter Cossins

    In John Foot's "Pedalare! Pedalare!: A History of Italian Cycling" we learn that "In Pier Paolo Pasolini's short story 'La Notte Brava', published in 1965, one of the Roman street kids uses the phrase 'a Girardengo', which signifies 'someone who didn't tell the truth, who never got to the point, who tried to become your friend under false pretence."

    Actually, La notte brava is a film from 1959 directed by Mauro Bolognini, based on Pasolini's novel "Ragazzi di vita" and of which Pasolini was one of the scriptwriter but he may have written a short story afterwards.

    In the book by L'Équipe "Belles d'un jour : l'histoire des grandes classiques", it's mentioned that Girardengo had a role in the film Sansonia (a vague parody of Sanson & Dalida) after finishing the 1933 Milan-Sanremo at age 40. It's inaccurate.

    Costante Girardengo played in "Sansone e la ladra di atleti" in ... 1919 by Amedeo Mustacchi :


    The Fauvist painter Maurice De Vlaminck raced the 1897 Paris-Roubaix, before he became famous as a painter. His father was a Belgian as his name suggest, originally De Vlaeminck (like Roger) but he dropped the "e" to make it more French.

    Victor Linart was a multiple track stayer World Champion from the Walloon land who made a fortune out of cycling. After his career he had a villa in Verneuil-sur-Avre, Normandy. In his dining room there were numerous paintings by De Vlaminck. When they meet De Vlaminck said: "So you too are from the pedal?"

    source: Théo Mathy - Les géants du cyclisme belge (Arts & voyages 1974)


    "Au Vélodrome" or "At the Cycle-Race Track" portraying Charles Crupelandt's win at the 1912 Paris-Roubaix

    The wiki page is rather extensive about it:
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  • « Last Edit: August 01, 2017, 22:09 by Echoes »


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    Re: Cycling & Pop Culture
    « Reply #5 on: July 05, 2014, 14:49 »
    The Belgian broadcaster ÉÉN played the film "Allez Eddy" yesterday evening. I've watched it this morning.

    2012 film by Gert Embrechts.

    It's not a masterpiece but it's a sweet family comedy around cycling and a must-watch for us cycling lovers. ;) The main story being set in 1975 during the Tour of France with also a flash forward to the 1986 Tour of Flanders.,_Eddy

    The story is set in the mid 1970s. Freddy Demul is the youngest son of a butcher family. Freddy likes road bicycle racing, but this is forbidden by his parents Agnes and André due to his fecal incontinence. Agnes is afraid her son will be ridiculed when "the problem" turns up in public, causing such psychological trauma leading Freddy to make some drastic decisions. Agnes knows some children who did self-harm after they were bullied such as the singer with a tumor who never sang anymore and a painter who cut off his tongue as he stuttered. That's why Freddy might not leave the house, although he sneakily goes out sometimes.

    A French supermarket "Magique" opens, not far from the butchery. Freddy's brother Briek joins the "Flemish Offensive", some youth organization which protests all French influences. To promote the supermarket, the director organizes a road bicycle racing for children. Freddy subscribes secretly. The winner gets a trip to Roubaix to meet Eddy Merckx. Briek and Agnes think they have seen Freddy in the race. This is confirmed when the director visits the butchery as Freddy won the contest. However, although André is a big fan of Eddy Merckx, he does not allow his son to travel to Roubaix again due to the fecal problem.

    André is not impressed with the supermarket. He does not believe in the concept people buy things in a store where meat, clothes and food in cans are sold together. He is wrong and less and less customers visit the butchery. Thanks to his rich sister Marjet he gets an idea: customers can call the butchery for their order. Freddy will deliver the meat with his bicycle. This is however a modest success. Due to too fewer customers and a warm summer the meat gets rotten.

    Freddie becomes befriended with Marie, the daughter of the owner of Magique. One day, they decide to go on a bicycle trip. His fecal problem turns up. Whilst riding home, he is stopped by the Flemish Offensive who laugh at him when they see he has soiled his pants. This turns out in a fight between Freddy and Briek on the one hand and the Flemish Offensive on the other hand. Due to the incident, Briek cancels his membership. This is not appreciated by the Flemish Offensive and they throw a brick through the shopwindow. Agnes tells another story with an unhappy end. She had a younger brother who killed himself. He was bullied after he got some severe attacks of epilepsy.

    As the butchery is almost broke, André meets the director of Magique. He can convince the director "meat in plastic" is inferior and it is better to open a section with fresh quality meat. André gets a full-time job with guaranteed salary and a commission. Some days later, André closes his own shop.

    The director convinces André to subscribe Freddy for a talent scout. After the school vacation a sports school starts a department for talented bicycle racers, sponsored by Eddy Merckx. Freddy gets selected but his candidacy is uncertain due to the fecal incontinence. It would be a scandal for the sponsors and the team when this happens in public. The medical advisor of the jury suggests to perform another medical examination. He finds out there is an obstruction in the large intestine which can be cured. At the end the jury allows Freddy to start the course.

    Some years pass and the movie is set to a live submission of Tour of Flanders. When Freddy Demul is shown, the presenter tells Freddy is a talented man who will be known in history books.

    The movie was received with mixed feelings by general public. Allez, Eddy! got a score of 6.1/10 on IMDB.

    The movie won 2 awards during the fifth edition of Coming-of-Age Movie Awards. Actor Jelle Blomaert won in category Best Newcomer. The movie itself won the price in category Best International Film.

    Merckx's achievements and amazing popularity is carefully rendered here, with the board "Gesloten wegens Merckx" (Closed due to Merckx) that André is showing during the stages. We can see footages from the ITT, the attack on the Col d'Allos and of course the punch on the Puy de Dôme which triggered reactions of disgust in the butchery. We hear on Freddy's transistor coverage of the prologue won by Moser (and some old footage of the race in the background, which brings some touches of magic realism to the film).

    About the 1986 we can see the start of it with some famous riders at the start like Fons De Wolf (though there's a mistake because Fons is seen in his Boule d'Or jersey but no longer raced for that team in 1986) and then retired guest stars like Walter Godefroot (who was a DS at that time), Herman Van Springel or of course Merckx ... The presenter also  recalled the Hennie Kuiper win of 1981.

    There are also a lot of other references to cycling like Freddy's older brothers named "Briek", obviously after legendary Flandrian Briek Schotte and one of the contenders in the supermarket race was a Bert De Backer.
    Freddy's job as a delivery man on the bike is a clear reference the all the great champions of old (in the 50's or so) which had passed by that stage but in the mid-seventies that was already sort of outdated.

    (the Fleetwood Mac tune is not in the original version as far as I remember, lol)

    In Dutch:

    Freddy Maertens's comment about the film:

    He mainly remembered that Freddy Dermul's cycling dreams were obstacled by his parents while Merckx and he were strongly supported by their parents. Even though they were strict. [...] "I am, indeed, thinking about my time again, now. When I was amateur Belgian champion in Nandrin [that is  in the Ardennes] in 1971, the whole Lombardsijde [Maertens' family district in Middelkerke on the coast] was "on stilts" [...] Freddy Dermul's village could as well have been Lombardsijde."

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  • Echoes

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    Re: Cycling & Pop Culture
    « Reply #6 on: July 23, 2014, 12:06 »
    L'école buissonnière (Jean-Paul Le Chanois in 1949)

    The film was adapted into English under the title I Have a New Master or  Passion for Life (whether in Britain or the USA, probably)

    In French:

    The main topic of the film is the new pedagogical method that Célestin Freinet theorized. The so-called active pedagogy, practiced by the new schoolmaster (played by Bernard Blier) in the little village of Salèze (probably a fictitious village) in Provence, back in 1920. Revolutionary methods based on the pupils' interests and less on discipline.

    In the beginning of the film, we learn that a cycling race would cross the village, which is up a climb. It's the second stage of the Tour of Provence, organized by the "Petit Niçois" and the "Petit Provençal". 70 starters, including Belgians and Italians (basically in 1920, these were the three main nations). Including Jean Alavoineand Robert Jaquinot. Plus the local favourite "Boufartigue" (probably a fictitious character, while Jacquinot and Alavoine definitely were greats in those days).

    A bit later we learned that Boufartigue finished 30th in the first stage and that he has no chance of winning that second stage. Blier argues that some were last for the "Certificat d'étude" (primary school) but they are not necessarily the worst people.

    Then the riders are shown passing and Boufartigue is first on the climb. The previous master Arnaud says: "Boufartigue used less panties of the schoolbenches than on his bike saddle" but Pascal (Bernard Blier) says: "This race is a symbol. Yesterday Boufartigue was 30th. Everybody said he would abandon but today he was keen on passing first in his village." "For the 50FF bonus" replies Arnaud. "No ! Not for 50FF. Every man needs success. To take the lead of the peloton. Children are the same. They must distinguish themselves. If we can't interest them, they find something else. They might not be the best in class but maybe they are the most skilful at lighting up a fire on the hill [...]" At that point, some dropped riders were passing. Blier says "Look those are late, but perhaps they'll get back in the descent and who knows they may win in the sprint, as we say."

    At some point Blier asks his pupil to write a text about the bicycle, its history, the diameter of Boufartigue's wheels, how many turns of wheels he needs to get to Nice, etc.

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  • « Last Edit: July 29, 2015, 15:53 by Echoes »


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    Re: Cycling & Pop Culture
    « Reply #7 on: October 25, 2014, 13:31 »
    Season 7 Episode 2 of Murdoch Mysteries (Canadian TV Series set in Toronto, Ontario): Tour de Murdoch.(2014 or 2013?)

    Crap title but great film. The casual viewer didn't like it because it lacks action, of course but for those who are interested in history, it's a treasure.

    Detective Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) becomes an amateur cyclist. He races a "road" race against professional. One rider collapses during the race.

    One of the competitor is the famous Major Taylor.. Constable George Crabtree (Jonny Harris) mentions the fact that he was just 2nd at the US Nationals. So the action takes place in 1901. Major Taylor was 2nd to Frank Kramer at the Sprint US nats. It was the year he made a whole tour in Europe, too. Taylor was already a super star back then. Taylor was portrayed as an honest clean rider, without any abuse and who isn't prepared to anything to win a race. Close to the real one.

    He's played by Dewshane Williams

    You have a coach, Chippy Blackburn (Sean Cullen) who is obviously named after Choppy Waburton, who is known to dope up his riders. Taylor distrusts him, just like the real one distrusted Waburton. Several of his riders were killed in racing, just like some of Waburton's riders.

    Doping substances mentioned in the episode include cafeine, cocaine and strychnine. But also (autologous) blood transfusion are evoked.

    The character Lysett Barnes is a promoter of women's cycling" long before the first official women's races (I think?). When she evoked it with Murdoch and Inspector Brackenreid (Thomas Craig) in the French dubbed version, the latter ironically said "Un sport promis à un grand avenir" ("A sport destined to a bright future"). Brackenreid's machism.  :D But it does not correspond to what he's saying in the original English version.

    At a given moment Murdoch and Crabtree pass by a penny farthing and Crabtree said that he was glad that those models were gone because he found them ugly. Murdoch argued that that is evolution and that there wouldn't be modern bicycle without these old penny farthing. And then he was wondering how a transport that was first meant to help facilitating the life of the common people becomes a sport in which contenders would try to outperform one another.

    And of course, you have in the first scene, Murdoch's new invention, the gear shifting/gearwheel system that enables him to shift gear without dismounting.

    For people who are knowledgeable in cycling history, this bike looks anachronical, if only for these aluminium rims, while they had wooden rims back then. But for the casual viewer, it goes unnoticed, of course.

    The full episode in English:

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  • « Last Edit: July 29, 2015, 15:55 by Echoes »


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    Re: Cycling & Pop Culture
    « Reply #8 on: October 25, 2014, 14:40 »
    sadly the big yellow taxi story isnt true, Fergal made it up, but would be nice if it was..
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    Re: Cycling & Pop Culture
    « Reply #9 on: November 20, 2014, 13:33 »
    Thanks Dim. Good to see that I'm still a bit naive, that means I'm also still young.  :D

    The velodrome of Buffalo built in Neuilly-sur-Seine, in 1894 later replied in Montrouge was named after William Cody, aka Buffalo Bill, who would stop on the same spot with his circus.

    In 1893 Buffalo Bill had a challenge with the Danish cyclist Charles Meyer (future Bordeaux-Paris winner and 2nd at the first Paris-Roubaix). In 12 hours Buffalo Bill covered a distance of 349km with his horse against 332km for Meyer.

    In 1884 Cody and his horse already beat the trackie Romolo Bruni at the San Siro stadium in Milan. He also beat the young Girardengo (aged 18!) in 1911.

    A famous Horse vs Cyclist challenge happened in Amiens 1977 with Freddy Maertens against 'Fakir du Vivier' (the horse that was partially owned by actor Alain Delon):

    So according to a recent issue of Cycle Sport, Maertens says he was paid 50000 francs by the bookmakers not to win and therefore made sure he lost by a nose. (Thanks Search, for that)

    The footage from INA does not fit his testimony, though. He didn't lose by a "nose" and there was no way he could have won on an "ash track", which favours the horse. The jockey said even Morelon and Trentin wouldn't have won.

    "In fact, the only pro rider we could find who had won against a racehorse was John Gadret in Amiens in June 2001. And he only did it because the judges said the horse broke the trotting rules by galloping instead of trotting to win. The horse was disqualified", still according to CS (still thanks Search).

    So this confirms that Girardengo lost to Buffalo Bill, while some sources claim the opposite. Since this article Démare won a challenge, but he did not race on an "ash track".


    Le boulanger de Valorgue (The Baker of Valorgue) by Henri Verneuil (1953)

    The opening scene shows a local amateur cycling race in Provence - the "GP cycliste régional" - at which the son of Félicien Hébrard (played by Fernandel) participated. Félicien refused to get to the finish line because he was so anxious about his son not winning it, despite being the favourite. "Normally he should win but still there are imponderables." And he was thinking mostly of punctures.

    Eventually Justin Hébrard (Francis Linel) wins the race. That will be his last amateur win because thereafter he had to go to Algeria for his military service. The rest of the story is a Pagnol-esque story about child's legitimacy and bakery vs grocery conflict, that has nothing to do with cycling.

    It once was available on Youtube but removed for copyright infringement.

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  • L'arri

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    Re: Cycling & Pop Culture
    « Reply #10 on: November 20, 2014, 16:00 »
    Flanders: A Cultural History

    André De Vries (2007), Signal

    This is a sometimes dry but good book on Flanders and, like his treatment of several topics therein, De Vries' very brief look at cycling uses our sport as a metaphor for the state of the country.

    The Antwerp thriller writer Stan Laureyssens published his account of the golden age of Flemish cycling, De Flandriens, in 1973, but the book did not sell. One of the photos showed Eddy Merckx pulling his trousers down, so the publishers came up with the idea of distributing posters of the mooning Merckx to every café in Flanders to try to boost sales. The posters ended up in café toilets, where they were useful for witty graffiti. Merckx took the publishers to court and had the books with the offending photograph pulped, but he also indirectly ensured the book's success. Notwithstanding this episode, Merckx probably does have a sense of humour: he called his son (also a professional cyclist) Axel.
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  • Cycling is a Europe thing only and I only watch from Omloop on cause I am cool and sh*t
    RIP Craig1985 / Craig Walsh
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    Re: Cycling & Pop Culture
    « Reply #11 on: January 16, 2016, 15:43 »
    Jour de fête aka The Big Day – Jacques Tati – 1949:

    « Jour de Fête » is a great witness of the evolution of the French countryside after World War II and at the time of the Marshall Plan which promoted innovations such as the tractors (US brands of course), which ultimately eased the farmers’ work but at high cost for their finances. For the first time in history, a young generation of peasants will go on credit to purchase those new equipments while for the older generations of farmers, being in debt had always been perceived as humiliating. These new equipments go hand in hand with a radical upheaval of the rural landscape: the land consolidation (“remembrement” in French) which destroyed kilometers of hedges and ditches that generations of farmers had grown for centuries, all of it had dramatic consequences for the ecology. If you add to this fact, the building of dams and the promotion of fertilizers, you can see how the 1950’s transformed our rural social life.

    The film shows a rural village whose way of life is based on slowness. First, you can see the peasants still working with plough horses, not with tractors yet but it’s coming. The guys of the fun fair have a tractor. “François the Postman” ;) (Jacques Tati himself) is always taking his time while making his tour on his bike. He’s also helping the villagers raising the flag or helping the peasants making hay. He’s a good guy, everybody knows him in the village, actually everybody knows everybody and giving each other a hand when necessary. It seems like they’ve been living like that for centuries and centuries in this village.

    Then comes the fun fair and they are showing a film about American postmen who are supposedly working with planes and helicopters, jumping with parachutes in order to get easier access to the addressees, training on motor-crossing, etc.
    Compared to Americans, François looks ridiculous with his old bike and is mocked at by all those who had seen the film (it seems that the new technologies on this film have the same mind-destroying effect on the viewers as those in Star Wars nowadays) and sets out to prove them wrong by training for an “American” tour. He’s been convinced that even though Americans have planes and are pretty strong for that, in cycling they are not that strong (it was long before LeMond!). He started a tour based on speed and efficiency but it eventually proved nightmarish and full of crash and misunderstandings.

    Eventually, a wise old lady is convincing him to let Americans do what they want. They are not growing these crops, anyway. So François gets back to his old habits, based on slowness and solidarity with the villagers and peasants.

    Tati also shot a nice and funny cycling scene in which François catches and drops a whole racing peloton while being seemingly very relaxed.
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  • Echoes

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    Re: Cycling & Pop Culture
    « Reply #12 on: February 11, 2016, 20:36 »
    Alex Roeka is a Dutch folk singer/songwriter and cycling fan. He wrote many songs about cycling including one about "De Muur van Geraardsbergen" (I think from 2009). In the clip below, he performs his song on the legendary climb itself. I'm posting it in the hope that it'll soon be brought back to the Tour of Flanders route.

    My attempt at a translation but there are a few words that I don't understand. If a speaker of Dutch can help me. But lol, it's typical Lowland vocabulary.  :P

    Als de natte wind in je botten dringt > If the wet wind is forcing through your boots (“botten” is Belgian for “boots”, “laarzen” is the Dutch word)
    En de hamer zingt langs je oor: > And the hammer’s singing along your ear
    ‘Hier nog een lel dan op je nek!’ > « Here, another slap on your neck ! »
    De keienstraat door je benen slaat > The cobbled street’s hitting through your legs
    En het pijnbeest knaagt aan je knie, > And the pain beast is gnawing into your knees,
    Het einde loert in de drek. > The end’s on the lookout in the dung

    Ja, dan komt de muur en hij bijt meteen, > Yeah, then comes the Muur and he immediately bites
    Het zuur snijdt door je heen, gemeen, een, twee, nee. > The acid is cutting you through, nastily, one, two, no.
    Hij trekt je adem en je snot vanonder uit je rauwe strot. > He pulls your breath and your snot from your raw gullet
    Waarom, o God, waarom? > Why, oh God, Why?

    Als de dunne schijt langs je dijen glijdt > When the thin sh*t is slipping along your thighs
    En de hele zooi rijdt van je weg. > And the whole pack is riding away from you
    Nooit kom ik verder dan de goot. > I’ll never get further than the gutter
    En je wordt klein en het is allemaal schijn > And you get small and it’s all made believe
    En je zou meer moeten zijn dan een dweil. > And you should be more than a vagabond
    Waarom, moeder, ben ik al dood? > Why, mother, am I already dead?

    Ja, dit is de muur en hij is diep en vuil, > Yes, this is the Muur and he is deep and dirty
    Een spleet, gat, knekelkuil. Hoe kom ik eruit? > A cleft, hole, ossuary. How do I come out of it?
    Hij hangt aan mijn rug als een blok beton, > He’s hanging on my back like a pile of concrete
    Knijpt de godvers uit mijn droge tong. > Cutting the ***** out of my dry tongue. (I don’t know what “godvers”, anyone?)
    Ah hond, ja hond, nu moet je gaan.> Ah dog, yeah dog, now you have to go.

    Wordt het stof of wordt het goud? > Does it become dust or does it become gold?
    Wordt het gras of wordt het steen? > Does it become grass or does it become stone
    Wordt het nacht of licht? > Does it get dark or light?
    Ah, ik neem die bult alleen. > Ah, I take this hump on my own.

    Ja, dit is de muur en ik vreet hem op, > Yeah, this is the Muur and I’m devouring it
    Schop mijn drog over de top en jank, jank, jank niet meer. > Shot my **** over the top and whine, whine, whine no more. (I don’t know what “drog” means, help?)
    Het gaat alweer naar benee, ik jaag met de besten mee, > It goes downhill again, I’m hunting with the best
    o nee, mij krijgen ze niet. > Oh no, they won’t catch me
    Het gaat alweer naar benee, ik jaag met de besten mee,
    O nee, mij krijgen ze niet.

    Read more:
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  • Echoes

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    Re: Cycling & Pop Culture
    « Reply #13 on: May 03, 2016, 20:57 »
    I take my pen back because I promised Maxiton of Cyclingews I would talk about Vittorio De Sica's Ladri di biciclette (Bicycle Thieves, 1948).

    I haven't seen the film but have long wished to be able to find it because I've always liked Italian cinema, whether it be the Neorealist movement (which it is one of the finest example of), the Spaghetti and in particular the Zapata Westerns, the Poliziottescho's and some Giallo's.

    Vittorio De Sica is a pure product of Cinecitta, just like Roberto Rosselini or Luchino Visconti, in the Fascist era (Cinecitta was founded in 1937). Those young directors started the neorealist movement as opposed to the "White Telephone" genre which was hyped during the Mussolinian era, light comedies for a happy middle-class.

    In "Bicycle Thieves", Antonio Ricci (Lamberto Maggiorani) finally gets a job, posting advertising bills, after two years of unemployment. For this, he needs a bike, which his wife Maria (Lianella Carell) manages to find but Antonio had his machine stolen which would mean his job was lost. The whole film revolves around Antonio's quest for his bike before being forced to commit an irreparable act: steal a bike himself. This reminds us of an era in which all common people needed a bike for everyday use. The vespa's only came in the mid-fifties in Italy and only in the sixties could the biggest number afford a car. That's why the era that goes from the 1920's to the early fifties were the golden era of cycling. Everybody rode the bike, which means that the greatest talents could not go unnoticed. Coppi was a delivery man for a grocer's shop. Van Steenbergen was a delivery man, so were Bobet, Van Looy or Kübler...

    A short review by Maxiton:
    Unlike the Communion of Saints and the forgiveness of sins, honesty in cyclesport cannot be an article of faith. To make it so is to turn a blind eye to corruption, and thus allow corruption to flourish. When corruption is ignored in a community, such as that of the GC controlled by the UCI, everyone within that community is, ultimately, compromised. This is the lesson of the De Sica film.

    The film is mainly about the bike in everyday use but on Youtube I managed to find a scene of competitive cycling: it was a track event in Rome that had just ended.

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  • Echoes

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    Re: Cycling & Pop Culture
    « Reply #14 on: June 07, 2016, 15:22 »
    Porteur d’eau
    Salle de l’Œil vert - Theatre de Liège

    Denis Laujol / Lorent Wanson

    This play, whose creation was initiated on the occasion of the Aube Boraine (Mons 2015), brings you into the world of cycling. Indeed, the porteurs d’eau (a “water carriers”) are these cyclists who work in the shadow of their leader who they resupply, help out, bring the victory to and whose excesses they have to deal with. No flowers, no podium. Denis Laujol based himself on the story of one of these Post-war Belgian cyclists, Florent Mathieu, a local star in the Borinage (Belgium) who filled this position his during several Tours de France. Even if this play belongs to an old period of time, we are not simply told a succession of nostalgic anecdotes because the actor, before choosing theatre, began a career in cycling. His complicity with the director Lorent Wanson has allowed them to have a reflection about heroism, courage, work and humility, Armstrong, Merckx, humour, philosophy and Sancho Panza.

    Definitely going to see it at the Théatre Le Public in Brussels. It plays until June 25 2016  :cool
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  • Echoes

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    Re: Cycling & Pop Culture
    « Reply #15 on: June 17, 2016, 11:35 »
    In that theatrical play, Denis Laujol talks about his own experience as a cyclist and about the former rider Florent Mathieu of Quaregnon near Mons (a so-called "Borain" which is the Picardian region of Belgium).

    Florent Mathieu (1919-1999) was 3rd in Liege-Bastogne-Liège in 1947 (when it wasn't a great classic yet) and 3rd in Dwars door België in 1948. He fulfilled his militar service in 1939 and then was a prisoner of war and worked in a farm near Hamburg

    I opted not to watch the play eventually. €25 is beyond my budget...
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: Cycling & Pop Culture
    « Reply #16 on: April 22, 2018, 05:52 »
    This is quite extraordinary, really.

    Hennessy, of cognac fame, has released an ad campaign featuring none other than Marshall "Major" Taylor.

    Hennessy celebrates those who Never stop. Never settle. Marshall Taylor was a historic world champion, but he was still searching for something else: a true rival.

    As fascinating as this is to me, the rollout seems to be a bit convoluted, and I had to chase this story around a bit in order to make sense of it.

    They've created a short, seven minute documentary, in addition to a series of commercials that range from 15, 30, 60 to 90 seconds each. There is also some behind-the-scenes footage available.

    There are some nice pics on the Hennessy site itself, and I was going to post all the Youtube clips separately, but I found a nice overview of the project, as well as what appears to be the most compressive collection of all the clips, from AdWeek:
    Hennessy’s Latest Opus Celebrates a Forgotten Cycling Legend in This Dark, Inspiring Film

    According to another article in
    Filmed in the Ukraine, the new crop of ad spots features Melvyn Akins, a London-based track racer, portraying Taylor. “[Akins] raced flat-out for four days straight in these awe-inspiring settings,” Giles Woodyer, Hennessy’s senior vice president for the US, told Adweek. “He was so inspired that he raced from dawn to dusk to make certain that he did justice to Taylor’s story. That was a truly moving experience.”
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